[Skip to Content]
English | Español


In the southern United States, the pervasive stigma surrounding HIV remains a significant barrier to effective healthcare and support for individuals living with the virus. Deep-rooted societal misconceptions, fear of discrimination, and lack of education contribute to this enduring stigma. As a consequence, people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the southern states may be hesitant to disclose their status, hindering their access to essential medical care and support services.

This stigma not only exacerbates the emotional and psychological burden on those living with HIV but also has tangible consequences for their health outcomes. Persons facing HIV-related stigma in the southern US are often subject to delayed diagnoses, reduced engagement in medical care, and face internalized stigmatism that should be addressed. As a result, the association between stigma and poorer health outcomes for individuals with HIV is a pressing concern in the southern region, highlighting the urgent need for targeted efforts to dismantle stigma, raise awareness, and promote a more supportive and inclusive environment for those affected by the virus.

The South stands at the forefront of a challenging healthcare landscape, marked by the highest rates of HIV diagnoses and mortality in the United States. This region grapples with a complex interplay of factors, including limited access to healthcare resources, socioeconomic disparities, and entrenched stigma surrounding HIV. Tackling the HIV epidemic in the South requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both medical and socio-cultural aspects, aiming to bridge gaps in healthcare accessibility and dismantle the barriers contributing to the region's alarming rates of HIV diagnoses and mortality. For this reason, there is a dire need for programming and services in southern communities that specifically address the impact of stigma on those living with HIV. See Compass Map https://www.gileadcompass.com/maps-infographics/#map-and-infographic-content4

Content Areas

There is a pronounced need to design, implement, and evaluate interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma for PLHIV. This need is greatest in the South, where stigma is a significant driver of the epidemic, and stigma-reduction services are lacking in many communities. The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) COMPASS Coordinating Center seeks to support the development of interventions focused on reducing internalized HIV-related stigma in the South. Specifically, we are looking for any combination of program elements or strategies designed to reduce HIV-related stigma impacting PLHIV by:

  • Influencing knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills among PLHIV;
  • Increasing social support for PLHIV; and/or
  • Creating supportive environments, policies, and resources for PLHIV.

To that end, SAC seeks to support organizations that are addressing the unique challenges and needs of PLHIV in the South through community-informed interventions. Applicants are encouraged to think creatively. The intervention design should reflect the demonstrated need and programming gaps in your community.

Focus Areas

The Southern AIDS Coalition will allow applicants to seek funding for interventions addressing HIV-related stigma in two focus areas:

  • Development or adaptation of an intervention to meet specific community needs.
  • Implementation of an intervention that the applicant has previously developed or adapted to meet specific community needs.

Applicants may only apply to one (1) focus area.

Focus Area One. Intervention Development or Adaptation 

Proposed projects in this focus area should result in the development and effective piloting of an intervention that addresses HIV-related stigma. Programs in this area may be either: 

  1. Original intervention with a proposed comprehensive formative process that considers existing programming gaps and relevance to the culture and experiences of the community of focus.  
  2. Adaptation of existing evidence-based intervention(s) with a proposed comprehensive process and justification for developing additional content that specifically addresses HIV-related stigma.

Successful proposals in this focus area will clearly outline steps that will be taken to effectively develop an intervention from conceptualization to piloting, inclusive of evaluation activities at each stage of work.  Example of funded activities in this focus area might include (but not limited to): 

  • Focus groups, online surveys, or other formative research with PLHIV and/or those providing social or emotional support to PLHIV;
  • Formalizing an existing program that has been well-received by PLHIV in your community; 
  • Adapting an existing evidence-based intervention to include more focused content that addresses the needs of a specific community of PLHIV or a specific stigmatizing behavior or practice that is prevalent in your community; or 
  • Trainings for PLHIV to build their capacity to develop content and/or facilitate the 

Focus Area Two.  Intervention Implementation

Proposed projects in this focus area should result in the implementation of an intervention that was previously developed and piloted by the applicant.  In this focus area, your project should culminate in a minimum of one complete cycle of your intervention with program evaluation at every step of programming by the end of the funding period.  Your application should clearly demonstrate an existing program of promise, with existing programmatic content. Example of funded activities might include: 

  • Program implementation with appropriate audience based on earlier program development, evaluation, and/or piloting;
  • Adjusting existing program content based on data/feedback from earlier participants; 
  • Recruitment and outreach activities; 
  • Training of program facilitators in intervention content; 
  • Analysis and application of data to improve program delivery;
  • Development of communications planning—to include strategies for virtual delivery of content previously offered in person

What We’re Looking For
For the purposes of this opportunity, “intervention” can be broadly interpreted to include a range of strategies, including (but not limited to): 

  • Collaborating with PLHIV to develop a community-based education program for providers, family members, or employers;
  • Working with PLHIV to develop an initiative that supports the creation of improved public or organizational policies;
  • A health promotion campaign to increase knowledge about HIV in faith, social, or healthcare settings, with a focus on the impact of stigma; or
  • A combination of interventions implemented in different settings, including communities, worksites, schools, health care organizations, or in the home. 

We are particularly interested in applications that are: 

  • Intentional in the application of MIPA Principles (Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS), which means centering of PLHIV at all stages of program development and implementation (MIPA) 
  • Demonstrative of the applicant’s alignment with the Gilead COMPASS Initiative Guiding® Principles (noted in the RFP)
  • Located in communities that currently lack stigma reduction resources for PLHIV 
  • Led by members of community
  • Clearly defined and developed with appropriate SMART goals and objectives

Tips on Completing the Work Plan 

  • The initial three months of this funding can be utilized for robust programmatic planning and formative research to support your program design.  The planning period is critical and should not be glossed over in your planning.  
  • Your work plan should paint a clear picture of your vision for the proposed project and convey an understanding of the steps required to effectively meet your stated objectives.
  • Your recruitment and engagement strategy should be evident (including how PLHIV are centered in those processes)   
  • Considerations should be made for any limitations created by COVID-19 restrictions

Application Requirements

  1.  Applications should include appropriate references when citing data. There will be a section within the application designated to include references.  
  2. Applications must include all required supplemental materials as well. Applications that do not include all required supplemental materials will be considered substantially incomplete and will not be considered for funding. Templates for supplemental materials are available within the application. 
  3. Submitted applications must include two major sections: 1) Project Narrative and 2) Supplemental Materials.  

CLICK HERE to view a description of these various components, the amount of points the are weighted in the overall score of our application, and other details.


Ultimately, our goal is to identify scalable and fundable interventions that are effective at reducing HIV-related stigma and capable of being replicated elsewhere in the South. As such, we are deeply committed to the evaluation of these interventions. The evaluation plan for funded programs should outline the expected outcomes from the proposed intervention and a process for measuring these outcomes.

We want to ensure all grantees are collecting data that includes a set of common evaluation indicators and performance measures that can be compiled and compared across Coordinating Centers. In addition to the COMPASS® Initiative evaluator (ETR), the Southern AIDS Coalition COMPASS Coordinating Center will work collaboratively with its own set of selected evaluation partners to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of this funding. If funded, your organization will be required to work collaboratively with all evaluation parties on these common evaluation indicators and performance measures.


View the PDF version of the application HERE.

Click to return to the Home Page.